HARLEM — Thieves are stealing checks from East Harlem mailboxes, altering amounts and cashing them, police said.
So far, more than $20,000 has been stolen.
Four reports have been filed with the NYPD's 25th Precinct claiming they mailed personal checks over the past two months, only to be notified by their banks that they were used to withdraw large amounts of cash, police said.
In one case, a 61-year-old East Harlem man mailed 15 checks between Sept. 1 and Sept. 28 at a mailbox on East 116th Street and Third Avenue. Earlier this month, he was notified by his landlord that one of the checks intended for rent was never received, police said.
When the man told his bank, he discovered that the various checks sent from that mailbox location had been altered from the original amounts, totaling $9,261, police said.
In another report, police said a 69-year-old man had a check stolen from a mailbox outside the Triborough Post Office at 118 E. 124th St after he mailed it on Sept. 6.
The man received a notification from his bank that a large amount had been withdrawn, which is when he saw the amount of the check he had written had been altered to $7,600.
A similar string of mailbox thefts occurred on the Upper West Side earlier this year, DNAinfo New York previously reported. In those cases, police said scammers used a sticky substance to "fish" mail out of boxes, opened the items and cashed checks.
Officers at the 25th Precinct in East Harlem said they have not yet discovered how thieves gained access to the mailboxes.
The United States Postal Service did not respond to a request for comment.